Showing posts with label budgeting for retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label budgeting for retirement. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Budgeting for Senior Citizens - How To Stay on Top of Your Finances!


This month we are fortunate to have a guest post by Roni David with excellent suggestions on managing our money as we age.  It is very timely because just this week I was speaking to a friend who lost her husband a few months ago.  He had always handled their finances, and she told me she had no idea how to set up a budget so she could comfortably be assured that her money would last the rest of her life.  

I worked with my friend that afternoon to help her set up a budget and suggested she speak with a money manager to get more details about her IRA and other finances. The next day she told me she had already taken some actions to get her finances in order.  This woman is 80 years old, which proves that you are never too old to learn something new, including how to budget.

Below is the article by Roni Davis. Check it out and see if her post can help you do a better job of managing your own money and, hopefully, avoiding a late-in-life bankruptcy.  It is never too late!

How to Budget for Seniors


As a senior, you probably don’t have the influx of cash that you once had before retirement. Whether you are living off of savings or receiving payments in another form such as a pension or Social Security, you only have a certain amount of money to work with each month. Budgeting is a great way to keep track of your spending to ensure that you do not live outside of your means while enjoying retirement.

Why Should Seniors Budget?

Budgeting is important for anyone, but it can be especially important in retirement. Without a budget, you could lose track of your spending and exhaust a lot of what you have saved. In some cases, seniors can even go into debt because they have not budgeted their money properly. Here are the main reasons why budgeting is important for seniors.

Limited Income

Some people have the luxury of saving a lot throughout their life so that when they retire they have plenty to live off of. However, for some people, this is not an option and, in retirement, they have a small amount of money to work with. Many seniors live primarily on Social Security, which doesn’t pay very generously, forcing them to live on a very limited income.

This can be a huge transition from a lifestyle where you receive a paycheck each week and, if seniors do not budget properly, they may find themselves spending more than they have.

Get help with a Budget Planner (Ad)

Expenses Can Change

As with anyone, expenses change over time. Your housing payment may go up, or your bills can go down. The difference for seniors, however, is that the consequences of expenses changing for the worst can be much more serious. Most seniors do not have the ability to increase their income by changing jobs or picking up extra shifts. Budgeting is crucial to avoid this issue, so that if expenses do change there will be a sufficient amount saved.
 
Seniors Cannot Afford Debt

When you fall into debt early in life, it isn’t great, but you also have the means to pull yourself out of it. Additionally, when you are in debt in your 20s or 30s, you have years ahead of you to pay it off. On the other hand, seniors do not have this ability, and depending on the extent of their debt, they can take it to the end of their life. While you may be wondering why it would matter if they are not going to be made to pay it off, this can seriously affect any inheritance they want to leave behind. You certainly do not want to leave your grandchildren finances which are on the brink of bankruptcy

How to Budget as a Senior


If you are approaching retirement, or know a loved one who could use some budgeting tips, here are some easy ways to start:

Make A Monthly Expenses Worksheet

The first step to any budgeting plan is to figure out how much you spend each month. This is important because it tells you how much you are going to absolutely need for each month. This is also a good time to examine whether any of your spending needs to be cut back. For example, if you are paying to live in a senior living community, this could take up a large portion of your budget. In this case, you could look for a different, less expensive place to live.
 
Take a Look at Yearly Expenses

Not all of your expenses will be the same each month. Some of your utilities will cost more at certain times of the year, especially during the summer and winter months. During these times you will probably run your heat and air conditioning more often, which is going to drive up the cost. When you are creating your basic budget, you need to factor in these changes, especially if there is a large difference during certain months.
 
Choose Your Insurance Well

Insurance premiums can be paid on installment plans, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. Therefore, depending on the cash flow that you have, spacing your payments out in a certain way might be better for you. This would give you the time you need to make sure you save enough over the course of several months to pay for it at each installment.

Paying for your insurance annually does require you to spend a lot of money at once, but generally this is the cheaper way to go. This includes premiums for car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowners insurance.  Just make sure you are putting aside enough money monthly to make the payments when they come due.

Account for Leisure Expenses

When you create your budget you should include more than just your necessary expenses like housing, food, insurance, and more. You should also account for the things that you purchase as luxuries, including shopping for yourself and others, travel, and personal care. This is  a good area to cut back, if you find that your spending is exceeding a reasonable amount each month. 

If you plan to take cruses or expensive vacations, you should include these kinds of expenses in your budget and plan for them. Overall, the more you include in your budget, the more prepared you will be for the future.


About the Author:

Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.

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One option many people are discovering, which could help their budget efforts, is to earn extra money in retirement by opening a small home business.  They might do tutoring, give piano lessons, become a tax preparer, or almost anything that appeals to them.  Some people, like the author of this blog, are opening small home businesses such as my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts, (Ad) where I sell hundreds of jewelry selections and other gift items.  

Buy at DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

Whatever you decide to do to supplement your retirement income, it is important to realize that Social Security rarely provides all the income you will need in retirement.  You need to plan well in advance how you will support yourself.


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Roni Davis, Amazon, Pixabay and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy


Friday, July 9, 2021

Cut Expenses and Save Money for Retirement

The vast majority of retirees worry about money.  Only a small percentage of Baby-Boomers have managed to save enough money to continue to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle once they stop working.  Some people hope for the best, but do not know how to improve their fragile financial situation. I have even heard from people whose "retirement plan" is to never retire, because they know they cannot survive without a job.  

 However, even if you are not prepared for retirement, or you lost your savings while struggling to survive during the recent pandemic or a recession, the time may still come when you will not be able to work.  What will you do then?  This week's guest post by Dan Hall is about how to make sure you are able to survive during those final years of your life, even if you are approaching those years with very little savings. 

You may also find it helpful to also read a book such as "How to Make Your Money Last."  It could be a good way to help you formulate your own plan for the future.

Money Matters: Tips For Cash-Strapped Seniors

by Dan Hall

Money can get tight quickly when you’re retired. When you are past your career years, financial woes may be much more concerning than when you could easily earn a paycheck. Thankfully, there are ways to get past the unpleasantries of dealing with a limited income. To do so, you must evaluate your situation, understand what resources are available to you, and act on ideas which can reduce your spending. Here are a few tips.

Evaluate

If you are falling short at the end of each month, especially if you are still working, it is time to take a hard look at your budget. This is essentially a spreadsheet or piece of paper that lists out your income and expenses. Knowing how much money you have coming in and going out can help you better define your financial goals.  If you have already retired, your choices may be more limited, but you still have choices you can make.

Look through your bills to determine if you have anything which does not get paid on time each month. If so, this is a good indication that you do not have enough income to support your spending habits. Part of your budgetary evaluation should also be to determine if it is possible for you to save any extra money for an emergency.

Understand

If tracking your money and saving a portion of it is not your strong point, you may benefit from working with a financial consultant. This is a person who offers a service to help you better understand your debt, income, and budget.  You may also want to contact your credit card company to see if they can refer you to a free financial service to help you with budgeting.  They would rather help you get back on track financially than see you default on your credit cards and other bills or, worse for them, have you file bankruptcy. The financial consultant can help you determine where you can cut your expenses.  

Cutting expenses may not be enough, however, to help you balance your budget. You may also need to find additional sources of income. Depending on your income and where you live, you may be eligible for additional government financial support, such as Supplemental Security Income. Your local welfare agency, Social Security office, or senior center can help you apply for and access this financial assistance.  You may also be eligible for other government programs such as lower cost medical coverage through the Affordable Care Act, SNAP (food stamps), housing vouchers, disability income, and other types of assistance. If you are a veteran, talk to the Veteran's Administration to see what assistance they may be able to provide.

Act

Once you have a handle on your incoming and outgoing money, and done what you can to lower your expenses and increase your income, you can then make better financial decisions in the future. If you find that you still need to cut costs, there are several ways to do so without sacrificing the joys of retirement.

If you own a home, start by paying off your mortgage or refinancing it, if possible.  If you have been making payments on your home for a long time, you may no longer have a large mortgage, and paying off the remaining balance could be possible. If you have enough cash in the bank to pay your home off, you will not only save on mortgage interest, but that will be one less major monthly bill to pay.  If you cannot afford to pay off the mortgage, you may be able to refinance it at a lower interest rate and/or for a longer term.  This could make your payments more affordabl.

Another option which involves your home is moving to a smaller home in a less expensive location. If you move from a large family home to a smaller home in a less expensive area, you could save hundreds of dollars per month. 

If you rent, rather than own a home, the same idea applies.  See if you can find a smaller, less expensive place to live.

When you are ready to make a move, you may want to look into getting help from professional movers in your area. Ultimately, hiring movers may be worth the cost, because it is safer, especially for senior citizens, and they will save you time.  Even if you have limited money, you may may be able to hire a local mover. This could prevent you from injuring yourself which, in the long run, could end up costing you more than the cost of the move.

Another option, if you do not wish to relocate, is to bring in a roommate or create an intergenerational living situation.  Do you have a relative or friend who would like to help share in your living expenses?  Such an arrangement could save you a significant amount of money each month, and help you get your expenses in line with your income.  Another possibility is to rent out your garage, basement, or part of your home for storage. Then, you do not have to deal with another person, but you can earn a little extra income.

Aside from your living situation, you can also reduce your monthly spending by cutting back on the number of times you dine out each month. If you do decide to go for a meal, ask for a senior discount or go during the lunch hour for lighter portions and a cheaper tab. Instead of dining out with friends, plan to have dinner at home once each month with the people you are closest to. This pulls double duty by saving you money while allowing for socialization.

Look for other ways to save money.  Do you have the least expensive plans to cover your cell phone, internet, cable TV and similar services?  Anyone receiving government assistance may also qualify for discounts on some of these services. Do you really need a telephone land line, if you also have a cell phone?   Are there streaming services which you rarely use?  

In addition, look closely to see if there are ways you can reduce your monthly expenditures for electricity and other utilities.  Are there less expensive ways to enjoy your favorite hobbies ... public golf courses, and free art classes at local community colleges, for example?  Look for all the ways you can cut your expenses.  Challenge yourself to see how much money you can save each month.

If cutting corners is not enough, and you are not eligible for government assistance, it may be time to supplement your income with a part-time job. A few great part-time jobs for seniors include bookkeeper, school bus driver, nanny, tutor, store clerk, and cashier.

Living on a fixed income does not mean you have to sacrifice your quality of life. While you may have to juggle a few things here and there, move to a less expensive housing situation, and cut costs, you may be able to make the most of the money you have. But do take the time to budget and learn all you can about money and your financial situation. Knowledge is power, and having a grasp on your finances means you can change and adapt when needed.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog: http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Pexels